CrackedBerry… RIM’s Fall from Grace

If you mentioned that you had a BlackBerry to a friend or colleague a few years ago, you may have heard some envy. Research in Motion’s (RIM) product was solid and perfect for the on-the-go business person. Lately, though, RIM has seen it’s reputation tarnished. It has left many wondering if the company will ever really recover.

Just this year, BlackBerry has seen the PlayBook launched to lukewarm reviews and disappointing sales. Earlier in October, Best Buy announced that it was cutting the PlayBook price by $200. In September, RIM’s said it shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks. On top of all this, revenues fell sharply after a disappointing second quarter of 2011.RIM’s outlook didn’t get much better with the outage that felled its mail and BlackBerry Messenger system on Oct. 10. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said at BlackBerry’s annual developers’ conference that it would offer $100 in free apps to users. It hardly put a band-aid over a gaping wound.

While Apple continues to soar with the iPhone and phones built on Google Inc.’s Android platform sell well, the BlackBerry- and RIM- is failing. Think there’s a black cat in the RIM board room? The week of the BlackBerry outage, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S. Talk about bad PR.

A recent survey from Enterprise Management Associates shows that 30 percent of BlackBerry users in companies with more than 10,000 users will move to a different mobile platform in the next year. Further data shows only 14 percent of BlackBerry users are satisfied with their devices, EMA found, versus 44 percent of iPhone owners.

As a current BlackBerry user, I’ve been disappointed with the way this once innovative company has slowed. Outages happen, but when people stop finding the excitement or usefulness of your product, something needs to happen and fast.

RIM hasn’t moved fast enough. They’ve been reactionary instead of being proactive. It is costing them in sales and in the PR realm as well. The only hope may be the BBX mobile platform. However, there may not be many fans left to give it a chance.

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  • I believe a couple things are at play here contributing to RIMs demise. The first is offering innovative products that at least keep pace. They simply have not and as a result buyers of their products are moving to products that define them better where blackberry doesn’t. Blackberry specifically has been on steady decline for some time now. I do believe they will stay around due to a niche market of certain business people and government buyers. The second issue is they sell products, not purpose. They tout their what, not their why. Why marketers like Apple are successful because people see themselves in the brand, not the product.

    • Joel,

      All solid points and thanks for reading. It’s sad to me that RIM didn’t evolve further. I do like my BlackBerry, but with the iPhone and other devices offering much more, I’m pulled in that direction. 

      You hit it right on the head… the brand. Apple has certainly made their brand “sexy.” BlackBerry is now like the person in the room wearing the bell bottom pants and puffy shirt. 

  • Personally, I’ve always thought that the BlackBerry was difficult to use.  I wanted to take a look at some of their newer models so I Googled “RIM BlackBerry.”  A Los Angeles Times article popped up that’s only 7 hours old about a lawsuit against RIM over use of the name BBX for the new BlackBerry OS name.  Oh boy…Bad news turned to worse.  But who knows! Maybe RIM will come out on top somehow. All attention is good attention right??

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  • Anonymous

    I think it is interesting to look at the almost “roller-coaster” experiences my peers and I have had with Blackberry phones. I remember when I first bought my Blackberry a few years back, and I was so excited! I had “the phone” and I liked having something different than an iPhone. Then I had the problem that nearly everyone I know had. The ball fell out and so fourth. One of my very good friends and I both have Android phones and she is so sick of it that she ordered a Blackberry again. Weird. I believe the real problem is the roller coaster effect of their products. Any company that goes up and down does not connect well with the public. They seem unreliable and there is little trust. Blackberry better figure something good out or they are going down hill even more.